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Highlands Names Sphire as New Football Coach

Highlands High School's new football coach will be Bob Sphire, a veteran coach with more than 300 wins at the high school, college, and indoor football levels.

He arrives from Georgia where he has coached at North Gwinnett and Camden County high schools.

Sphire is a native of Brandenberg, Ky.

“Growing up in Kentucky and coaching in this state for as long as I did, I know firsthand that Highlands is one of the best schools, academically and athletically, in the Commonwealth.  Its tradition of excellence speaks for itself,” Sphire said. “The football program is built around champions and championships. And I can’t wait to work with the tremendous young men in the program.”

His coaching resume includes working with players like Myjai Sanders, a senior defensive end at the University of Cincinnati, and C.J. Uzomah, a tight end with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“This is a fantastic day for Highlands High School and the great people that make up the Bluebirds football community.  We have hired a coach with a championship pedigree and a plan to get us back there,” Principal Matt Bertasso said. “Coach Sphire does a fantastic job of getting his players ready to play at their optimum potential and I am excited for a championship culture to be restored in Fort Thomas.”

Sphire arrives in Fort Thomas to replace Brian Weinrich who left in December. Weinrich had led the Bluebirds to the program's twenty-third state title in 2013, but went 38-34 in the seasons since, including a 5-6 finish in 2020, Fort Thomas Matters reported. The program has also lost seven consecutive games to rival Covington Catholic.

Initially, Fort Thomas Independent Schools announced Eddie James as the new head coach in January, even holding a welcoming ceremony for the Franklin County head coach's arrival. Two days later, James announced that he decided against moving to Fort Thomas and returned to Franklin Co.

Sphire knows Kentucky football and state championships.

He started the football program at Lexington Catholic High School in 1992 and coached the team to a 2005 state championship. One of his former players at Lexington Catholic, Wes Caldwell, is the current athletic director at Highlands High School.

“It’s amazing how life comes full circle,” said Caldwell. “I know exactly the kind of coach, mentor and leader that Coach Sphire will be for our student-athletes, because he has had a profound influence on my life to this day. We have hired a tremendous coach and leader of young men to guide our program.”

Sphire also led North Gwinnett to runner-up finishes in the Georgia state playoffs in 2007 and 2013. 

Sphire and his wife, Marian, have two children, Danielle and Hayden. They also have a granddaughter named Gigi. Sphire holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Eastern Kentucky University, a master of arts in education and an M.A. in physical education from Western Kentucky University. He earned his rank 1 in teacher education from WKU. 

During his career, Sphire earned the honor of coaching in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game three times, as either a head coach or assistant coach. At North Gwinnett, Sphire’s team was ranked as high as #11 nationally in the USA Today Super 25 poll.

“We are going to work very, very hard at Highlands and play an exciting and physical brand of football,” Sphire said. “Our community will be very proud of them as players, but most importantly as young men who will go on to do great things in their lives.”

-Staff report

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